In the Realms of the Unreal

Henry Darger transcended social isolation and poverty by creating his own world through art.

Film Signature Image
Premiere Date
August 2, 2005
90 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2004 Newport Beach International Film Festival-Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2005 Montreal Film/Video Festival-National Film Board Award for Creativity
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2006 Primetime Emmy Awards-Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking
  • Producer

    Jessica Yu

    Jessica Lingman Yu is an American film director, writer, producer, and editor. She has worked on documentaries, dramatic films, and television shows. Yu won a 1996 Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject for Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien.


    Susan West

    We fund untold stories for public media.

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    The Film

    Reclusive janitor by day, visionary artist by night, outsider artist Henry Darger moved through life virtually unnoticed. But after his death, a treasure trove was discovered in his one-room Chicago apartment: a staggering 15,000-page novel and hundreds of illustrations that continue to inspire artists around the world. With dreamlike animation, poignant narration by Dakota Fanning, and a haunting musical score, Academy Award-winner Jessica Yu fashions a bold and beautiful film. In the Realms of the Unreal immerses us in Darger’s startling universe of innocence and pain, showing how he forged magic out of the bleakest of lives.